More than 93 million Americans nationwide are expected to travel 50 miles or more for the year-end holidays, an increase over Thanksgiving and last year’s holiday period according to the AAA. About 3.5 million New Englanders will travel 50 miles or more to holiday destinations, many starting out on Saturday. While the vast majority will go by car, Sandra Marsian of Triple-A’s Pioneer Valley branch says the numbers choosing to fly has picked up this season over last year despite the region’s economy losing steam.
“To see people turning to air fares sort of shows that people want to with their friends and family for the holidays. And they’re going to take and incur that expense despite of what the economic factors are, if they can certainly afford to do so.”
Peter Pan, the Northeast’s dominant bus company, says ridership has also increased in recent years due, in large part, to high gas and airline ticket prices. Spokeswoman Kimberly Bolduc says Peter Pan expects to carry more than 200,000 passengers this holiday season and is adding buses to accommodate them. She says most will be college students, who are also eager to take advantage of free wi-fi and outlets on board to charge their electronic devices.
“We estimate that we transport close to one million college students per year from Boston’s South Station and from UMass. So, you know, you can just imagine that around the holidays we are…there and available for college students to travel with affordable fares,”
For those going by car, Triple-A’s Marsian advises planning the route beforehand, carrying an emergency winter car care kit, containing at least a cell phone, caution flares and a blanket, and making arrangements for a designated driver if there’s going to be drinking over the holidays.